Sunday, April 23, 2023

*Review* Mira and Baku by Sara Truuvert


Genre: Children's 4-7 years
Published: October 17, 2023
Pages: 40

With the help of a magical friend, a young girl searches for her missing father in this poignant story set during Japanese internment in World War II.

It’s a week until Mira’s birthday, and she’s getting worried. Where is Papa? He has never missed her birthday before. When Mira’s friend Baku, a creature from Japanese folklore, offers to help, they journey over farmlands and forests, mountains and river mouths, gathering clues to Papa’s whereabouts―clues that echo Mira’s memories and overheard conversations in the camp where she lives with Mama.

Lushly illustrated by up-and-coming illustrator Michelle Theodore, this tender, moving picture book by debut author Sara Truuvert explores the profound impacts of family separation and the different forms comfort can take for a child processing loss.

Further reading on Japanese internment and a note from the author add to readers’ understanding of this underrepresented period of history, making it an instant classic. For fans of Baseball Saved UsMira and Baku is an emotional exploration of the power of imagination and hope in difficult times.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a story about a young girl who goes on a magical adventure to search for her father who is missing for some reason that is really not clear while reading the story. They visit various locations that no longer look the way they used to, like the family's store with empty shelves now. I was so lost while reading this book and did not pick up on any of the underlying meaning of the story until I got to the end of the book and read the further information. After that, things made more sense, but I feel like they could have made a small mention about the camps that could have given just a little bit of context early on for anyone who doesn't read book blurbs (like me). 

The illustrations were very wispy and cloud like, which was very fitting for a story about flying around with your mythical friend in search of your father. I would be okay reading this book a few times, especially since I'd probably pick up on more with a second reading myself right now because of the context I didn't have when I started the book. Overall I give this book 3.36 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

SARA TRUUVERT is a Canadian author of Japanese-Estonian descent. She grew up in Toronto and now lives in Ottawa, where she writes everything from short fiction to poetry to science articles. Mira and Baku is her first picture book.

MICHELLE THEODORE is an illustrator born and raised under the prairie skies in Edmonton, Alberta. As a landlocked yonsei, she is often reminiscing about coastal summers with family, inspired by her times on beaches collecting sand dollars and eating homemade salmon jerky.

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